From a very young age, we are taught that there will be things in life that we don’t want to do. However, we must push through and do those things which we don’t want to. Waking up at the crack of dawn, taxes, waiting in line at the DMV; these are all necessary tasks that no one really wants to do. We may avoid different chores for different reasons; they may seem pointless, tedious, boring, or they may cause frightening levels of anxiety. Not the anxiety that motivates you; the anxiety that makes you want to pretend you don’t have anything to do, lay in bed, and watch cat videos all day.
Just as there are different reasons for not wanting to do certain things, there are also different types of chores which we face. Some chores are simple and quick; they are over and done with by the end of a day. We can easily build up the discipline to complete them, without much turmoil. In contrast, some tasks take a constant mustering of strength. For example, going to a dead-end job every day is one challenge that most people face at least once in their lives. No matter the duration of your burdensome task, it can be tough to motivate yourself to get it done, or to keep pushing through when you just want to quit. But it can be done, and motivation can be made easier through a few key techniques.
The first one that I will mention is pretty simple, and it was inspired by one of those random inspirational quote pictures on Instagram. The picture was pink with a white circle, and inside the circle were the words, “throw your hair in a bun, drink some coffee, put on some gangsta rap, and handle it.” You don’t need to love rap, or be a coffee addict; the main point of the quote is to just get it done. No point in sitting around worrying about everything you have to do; instead of spending that time overcome with anxiety, spend that time getting the task done so it is no longer a source of worry.
The next technique that I will mention is more applicable to those long term tasks, such as working to get in better shape or working towards a degree, and that is to focus on your progress. Looking at how far you have come instead of how far you have to go is an excellent way to optimistically reframe a journey. You may not have a six pack yet or a Bachelor’s degree, but maybe you can now hold a plank for a whole minute, or maybe you got through your past semester with a 4.0 GPA. We all have big goals, but looking at how far we have to go in reaching these goals can turn them into a burden. By looking at your progress, you can muster the motivation to keep on pushing through.
Lastly, a great technique that always works for me is reminding myself of how accomplished I feel once I get something done. It doesn’t matter the size of my task; once I get something done and I no longer have to worry about it, I feel a lot better about myself. It is not as much about the purpose of the task, but it says something about you; it says that you are responsible, mature, and can flourish as an adult. If I am working towards a long term goal, I will feel accomplished by sticking with it and working towards the goal every single day. I will feel good about myself for every good grade I get for my classes, which will contribute towards the goal of getting a degree. If you can remind yourself of the accomplished feeling that is caused by completing a task, you may be motivated to get those pesky or anxiety inducing chores completed.
Everyone has things we don’t want to do. Taxes, getting to the gym every day, homework; the list goes on and on. However, these are all things that are either necessary or may be burdensome stepping stones in the pursuit of a larger goal. Motivation can be tricky when it comes to these tasks, but you can keep the above strategies in mind, and consider the big picture. Most tasks may be annoying or cause loads of stress, but most of them are designed to help you live a better life. So in the end, after all of our stress and whining, we must simply throw our hair in a bun, drink some coffee, turn on some gangsta rap, and handle it.